As we move into July, it's really starting to feel like summer here in New Jersey and I look forward to certain fixtures of the season. I've noticed that the tiger lilies are finally starting to bloom after a very wet spring which certainly has the mosquitoes celebrating in certain areas. Hot dogs and burgers taste that much better off the grill and so do fresh fruits and vegetables! I'm beginning to eye up my bass and panfish poppers and I am certainly going to try to catch a channel catfish or maybe a carp on the fly at some point.
Having said all of that is NJ trout season over? The short answer is no, not this year. Many of our customers are getting ready to head west to Montana but our rivers and streams are full and so are the spring seeps that provide additional cooling flows. Still, trout fishing in summer does take a little adjusting. First, pay attention to the weather. I try to avoid catch and release fly fishing for trout when the water gets over 70 degrees for a significant part of the day as the warmer water typically holds less dissolved oxygen which is vital for the trout's respiration. I'll fish early in the morning and again at dusk. Most of the time that means fishing from sunrise to about 10 am and then again after 7pm. Carry a stream thermometer and take the temperature by inserting the thermometer underwater in an area of good flow. To get a reliable reading, hold the thermometer under the water for several minutes.
I catch trout in the summer and some good ones. I'll look for windows of cooler, less humid weather. Many anglers will also head to the Catskills or to spring creeks in Pennsylvania both good options. When handling fish, I keep them in the water, let them breathe! Take photos of the fish in the net and mortality will go way down. Revive fish gently if necessary but you'll find that most fish when played quickly will require little reviving as long as they remain in the water. Watching a trout swim away after a successful fight is priceless.
There is still plenty of activity on our streams. Light Cahills and Isonychia will keep us busy in the evening and they will be joined by the large Yellow and Golden Drakes. The major hatching emergence should start after 7pm but if the hatch is a little slow starting pass the time by swinging a wet fly to simulate the emerging insects. I like the Cahill Wet fly or a Leadwing Coachman in sizes 12-14. In the morning, Tricos will start hatching anytime. These tiny mayflies will swarm over riffles in the early morning often joined by Summer Blue Quills. Later on in the morning Blue Winged Olives may hatch especially on cloudy, rainy days or on a sunny day look for Tan Caddis. We all know how successful worm patterns have been this year in the high water but look for beetles and ants to join the party hosted annually by the terrestrials crew.
Local Hatches 6/29/2019:
Morning 9-11 am:
Trico Trorythodes spp. Trico #22-24
Summer Blue Quill Paraleptophlebia mollis Adams or Blue Quill #18-20 Use small #18-20 Pheasant Tails!
Spotted Sedge Hydropsyche spp. Tan Elk Hair Caddis #14-18, Green Rockworm or JC's Electric Caddis #14-18, LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa #14-18
Green Sedge Rhyacophila sp. Elk Hair Caddis Olive #14-16, LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa #14-16
Cream Caddis Psilotreta sp. Tan Elk hair Caddis #18
Midday through Late Afternoon 12 noon - 5pm:
Grey Fox Maccaffertium vicarium Grey Fox #14 Hare's Ear or March Brown Nymph #14
Blue Wing Olive Drunella attenuatta BWO #16-18 Pheasant Tail # 18, RS2 #18, Baetis Emerger #16-18
Pink Lady Epeorus vitreus Sulphur #14, Sulphur Emerger #14, Len's Sulphur Nymph or Pheasant Tail #14
Slate Drake or "Iso" Isonychia bicolor Iso Prachute or Comparadun #12
Pale Evening Dun Epherella dorothea Sulphur #16-18, Sulphur Emerger #16-18, Pheasant Tail #16-18
Light Cahill Stenacron interpunctatum Light Cahill #12-14, Hare's Ear #14
Golden Drake anthopotamous distinctus & A. ruffous Golden Drake #10-12
Little Evening Yellow Leucrocuta hebe Sulphur #18
Sulphur stenonema rubrum Sulphur #12
Yellow Drake Ephemera varia Golden Drake or Sulphur Comparadun #10-12
Large Golden Stonefly Isoperla Sp. Yellow Stimulator #10
Yellow Sally & Lime Sally Isoperla bilineata and Alloperla imbecilla Yellow Sally #14-16
Videos: Light Cahill Wet and Iso Parachute by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions